Saturday, January 10, 2009

And the Winner is...CHILI!

So our dear friends came for dinner, and as you may recall from yesterday's post, I was planning on preparing pizza and fejoada.   However, we ate the pizza last night, so I had to come up with a new plan.  I was so intent on sticking to my challenge of not going to the market, but using what we had in the cupboard, that I had to do some quick thinking.  I found 3 lbs of dry beans, a zucchini, onions, potatoes, 3 tomatoes and garlic.  Sounds like chili to me!!  And the best part of it is that I was able to make more than enough for 9 people on less than $5!  With the chili, we had salad (made by our friends), all sorts of accompaniments for the chili and homemade tortillas.  I have recently discovered the wonders of masa flour.  With it, you can make all sorts of delicious foods: tamales, tortillas, and pupusas just to name a few.  I was able to figure out the balance between water, salt and flour just by using my hands - no measuring!- and had a blast mixing, forming and cooking tortillas.  I had always wanted one of those cool tortilla presses to make my corn tortillas evenly flat and round.  I fooled myself to thinking that I couldn't make tortillas, even though I loved them so much at my favorite Mexican restaurant, because I needed a tortilla press.  I have to have one.  Anyone who loves tortillas as much as me needs to have a press.  Anyone.  But I never got one.  I am the lonely cook without a press.  No homemade tortillas for me.  I could never really justify the cost.

But I figured it out tonight!  I improvised a tortilla press out of 2 plates to make a fine and dandy contraption, and wow, it was fantastic!  Pictures will come soon.  For now, we have tortillas and chili to last us through the snow storm tomorrow, after having a truly lovely evening with our friends. Yippee!

As a side note, I didn't want to go by the market, but I did.  At the last minute, I got nervous about not having enough milk or sour cream for the dinner (and huge snow storm about to hit), and purchased ice cream for dessert (which we didn't even use, but will tomorrow).  I was so good - kept it under $20, bringing my weekly total of groceries to $180 + $45 for Boston Organics = $225. Not bad since I'm bringing it down from around $300/400 (and probably more).

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